Generous Donors Leave Legacies for Hope

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On an unsuspecting day in December 2015, Executive Director Brian Upton received a phone call that Parma resident and lifelong Lutheran, Jean Gschwend, had left a generous estate gift to BHITC. No one in the organization had heard of Jean, let alone known her. BHITC was shocked and overwhelmed by the tremendous blessing that no one saw coming. Thanks to her generosity, BHITC was able to exceed the $1 million goal for its Harvesting God’s Promise campaign that was launched in 2013.

Jean’s estate gift is an example of the tremendous impact that you can have in providing for your heirs and blessing the Kingdom of God through planned gifts. For BHITC, planned gifts dynamically contribute to its long-term sustainability. Careful planning and decision-making with a financial advisor can allow you to make a much larger donation than you would otherwise be able to make from your annual income, while also realizing significant tax benefits, too.

Linda Adams tutors at The Hope Center and recently added BHITC as a beneficiary for her IRA distributions. When asked why she chose to do so, she recounted the many blessings of her life. “Why should I keep all that for myself?” she said, noting that she believes BHITC really cares about the people it serves and that kind of deep care and love is contagious. “When I’m gone, I still want to be part of the action and blessings of Building Hope.”

Colin and Melissa Bell have been actively involved with BHITC for about eight years, serving on the board and as CitySERVE site coordinators. They named BHITC as the beneficiary and owner of Melissa’s charitable life insurance policy. As a financial consultant, Colin says that planned gifts are important as he encounters many people who have heartfelt charitable intentions, but may not know how to fully enact them. “With a charitable life insurance policy, a minimal annual premium will result in an immense gift for BHITC in the future. You don’t have to be very wealthy to be able to make a large gift.”

With a charitable life insurance policy, you name a charity (your church, BHITC or other) as the owner and beneficiary. All premium payments are 100% tax deductible, allowing you to make a significantly larger gift than would be possible using current income. Some people even choose to donate paid-up policies, or add a charity as a beneficiary on an existing policy.

These are just some examples of how you could join Vibrant City Collective, BHITC’s Planned Giving society, BHITC’s circle of most generous donors. “Planned gifts are critical to the organization’s long-term vision of seeing our city restored to God,” says Upton. “Vibrant City Collective supporters are our closest partners in delivering faith-inspired solutions to Cleveland’s biggest challenges, including church-planting, social enterprise, poverty alleviation and cross-cultural ministries.”

Want to know more? Contact your financial or tax advisor, or call Brian Upton at 216-281-4673.

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